You may be familiar with this one…
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
…or words to that effect. Benjamin Franklin’s statement is a mantra for those who believe preparation is everything (and for whom an unplugged classroom may be a concept too far removed). While I would agree that there is a need to be ‘ready’ in teaching in general and ELT in particular (you may be a ninja, for example) to create a learning environment as effective as you can, but I’d like to flip Mr Franklin’s famous words around, if I may…
Failing is the best preparation.
I failed my first assessed lesson for the DELTA. Maybe living this thing out there in public is not the wisest of moves, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to keep a record of certain things on the course, as much for the benefit of anyone reading this as for myself.
The advantage of not passing that first observation means it is clear in which areas I need to improve. This is a key factor in motivating me going on with the course. After all, had I been told I was already a perfect teacher, I might have wanted my money back.
Additionally, it highlighted for me the fact that this course is modular. That means that one fail is not the end of the world, as long as lessons are learned and incorporated into future practice. I like to think that the D in my DELTA is in some ways representative of development. That is why I am doing the course. I knew I had areas to improve; now I have a clearer idea what they are and how to tackle them.
I had been a bit pessimistic about the whole experience so far, going so far as to tweet my negative feelings about it all. I’m not sure if that was a wise thing to do – though it certainly showed me the supportive people who are out there who I am lucky to know, whether IRL or just virtually. In fact, in some way I think having tweeted what I was feeling helped me be a bit more philosophical about my observation feedback. I think this is a key to getting through this course, having the ability to reflect on where you are, knowing where you want to be and how to get there. I think I’m there on the first of those three, but the other two are those that need work.
Roll on LSA2 and bigger and better things!